Presumption is our natural and original malady. When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
It is only fools who keep straining at high C all their lives.
—Charles Dudley Warner (1829–1900) American Essayist, Novelist
Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.
—Alfred A. Montapert (1906–97) American Engineer, Philosopher
We expect everything and are prepared for nothing.
—Sophie Swetchine (1782–1857) Russian Mystic, Writer
We tend to get what we expect.
—Norman Vincent Peale (1898–1993) American Clergyman, Self-Help Author
From a broken violin do not expect fine music.
To wish to act like angels while we are still in this world is nothing but folly.
—Teresa of Avila (1515–82) Spanish Carmelite Nun, Mystic
Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.
—Jean Vanier (1928–2019) French-Canadian Philosopher, Theologian, Humanitarian
There is a proper balance between not asking enough of oneself and asking or expecting too much.
—May Sarton (1912–95) American Children’s Books Writer, Poet, Novelist
No one is expected to achieve the impossible.
I hope to work, support my children and die quietly without pain.
—Sean Connery (1930–2020) Scottish Actor, Film Producer
He who inherits a penny is expected to spend a dollar.
We would have to settle for the elegant goal of becoming ourselves.
—William Styron (1925–2006) American Novelist, Essayist, Writer
It isn’t important to come out on top, what matters is to be the one who comes out alive.
—Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) German Poet, Playwright, Theater Personality
You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew.
—Francis de Sales (1567–1622) French Catholic Saint
May God … let me strive for attainable things.
—Pindar (c.518–c.438 BCE) Greek Lyric Poet
I have done what I could do in life, and if I could not do better, I did not deserve it. In vain have I tried to step beyond what bound me. Despite my years, I am still trying.
—Maurice Maeterlinck (1862–1949) Belgian Poet, Playwright, Essayist
We will always tend to fulfill our own expectation of ourselves.
—Brian Tracy (b.1944) American Author, Motivational Speaker
Do the day’s work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a stand-patter, but don’t be a stand-patter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don’t be a demagogue. Don’t hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don’t hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table. Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. Don’t hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation.
—Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) American Head of State, Lawyer
I can’t write a book commensurate with Shakespeare, but I can write a book by me.
—Walter Raleigh (1552–1618) English Courtier, Navigator, Poet
There is no medicine like hope, no incentives so great, and no tonics so powerful as the expectation of something better tomorrow.
—Orison Swett Marden (1850–1924) American New Thought Writer, Physician, Entrepreneur
The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous.
—Margot Fonteyn (1919–91) English Classical Ballet Dancer
That is a good book which is opened with expectation, and closed with delight and profit.
—Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888) American Teacher, Writer, Philosopher
It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage, that the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institutions and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones.
—Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527) Florentine Political Philosopher
The wise don’t expect to find life worth living; they make it that way.
Some people bear three kinds of trouble—all they ever had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.
—Edward Everett Hale (1822–1909) American Unitarian Clergyman, Writer
You must not expect old heads upon young shoulders.
Of all the young men in America only a few hundred can get into major league baseball, and of these only a handful in a decade can get into the Hall of Fame. So it goes in all human activity … Some become multimillionaires and chairmen of the board, and some of us must be content to play baseball at company picnics or manage a credit union without pay.
—William Feather (1889–1981) American Publisher, Author
There is nothing more miserable and foolish than anticipation.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian